ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. Visit the ACL’s website each day to see what’s of interest in the news. Please note that selection of the articles does not represent ACL endorsement of the content.


Charities & NFP

Changes to Charity Regulator Bill recommended

Pro Bono News

A Parliamentary review of the Draft Bill establishing Australia’s first Charity Regulator, the ACNC, has recommended key changes around reporting and removing the burden of red tape for the Not for Profit sector. The Report on the Exposure Draft of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) Bill 2012 was presented by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics, Julie Owens to Federal Parliament.


NT Labor censorship bid sparks press freedom fight

Amos Aikman - The Australian

The Northern Territory Labor leader has denied authorising an attempt by his office to make a newspaper spike a negative story about a Labor candidate's violent past by threatening legal action. Chief Minister and Labor leader Paul Henderson’s office only withdrew the threat after The Northern Territory News said it would publish a blank front page with the word “censored” on it. The scandal is likely to reopen the freedom of speech debate, as federal Labor moves towards imposing government regulation on the press. At a press conference on Tuesday Mr Henderson refused to guarantee similar threats would not be used in the future.

Drugs & Alcohol

Quit, Cancer Council welcome tobacco win


Australia is a step closer to a smoke-free generation after the High Court rejected the tobacco industry's challenge to plain packaging laws, Quit Victoria says. The court ruled on Wednesday that the federal government's world-first plain packaging laws are constitutionally valid. The legal victory means all cigarettes and tobacco products will have to be sold in drab olive-brown packs from December.

Fears of cigarette price war

Mark Metherell - SMH

The Gillard government's plain pack tobacco triumph has prompted warnings that the measure will intensify price competition and result in cheaper cigarettes. Government and health groups yesterday hailed as a victory for global health the High Court's rejection of the tobacco industry's challenge to the unprecedented legislation. The measure will ban brand logos and trademarks on cigarette packets from December 1.

Tobacco fight not over, Phillip Morris says

Chris Zappone - SMH

Philip Morris says today's High Court decision supporting the plain packaging of cigarettes would not affect other legal challenges to the Australian government's plan. Following the court decision, challenges to Australia's packaging rules remain from three countries - the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Ukraine - through the World Trade Organisation. Marlboro-maker Phillip Morris is also suing Australia for alleged breaches of Australia's Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong. “We believe that Philip Morris Asia's investment treaty case and the WTO challenges are strong,” said PML spokesperson Chris Argent. “As such, there is still a long way to go before all the legal questions about plain packaging are fully explored and answered.”

Kings Cross owners plan crisis talks amid crackdown on violence

Sean Nicholls - Sydney Morning Herald

Kings Cross venue owners will hold an emergency meeting next week to respond to plans to impose licensing restrictions on their premises following the fatal assault on teenager Thomas Kelly last month. The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has announced the government will introduce a ban on shots, doubles, ready-to-drink beverages and glassware after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays for the area's 58 venues.

Marshals to monitor all licenced premises in Kings Cross from 11pm

Andrew Clennell and Vanda Carson - The Daily Telegraph

Marshals will visit all licenced premises in Kings Cross from 11pm, shots and doubles will be banned from midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and there will be a limit of four drinks per customer under tough new restrictions announced by the Premier in parliament today in the wake of the Thomas Kelly killing. The Premier said an audit of 58 licensed premises in the Cross had found substantial breaches and a clear discrepancy between the record of people not being served because they were too drunk compared to the record of people being thrown out of premises.

Shootings unrelated to religion or politics: police

Lisa Davies and Rachel Olding - SMH

One of the state's most senior policemen says three shootings in the past two days have "nothing to do with religion or politics" and were simply examples of "criminals acting in a criminal manner". Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli told the Herald this morning two shootings overnight in Sefton and Bankstown were "definitely not linked" to either each other, or to a drive-by attack on Monday night. "What it is, is criminals acting in a criminal manner," he said today. "It involves drugs, it involves turf war, it involves individuals who are just criminals. It's got nothing to do with religion or politics; they are just using what they can to cover up their own criminality."

Needle exchange trial to go ahead at Canberra jail

Christopher Knaus - Canberra Times

The guards union has warned the government is yet to convince prison officers that the latest needle exchange model alleviates their ‘‘significant’’ concerns. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced this morning a renewed push to introduce a needle and syringe program in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. That could see prisoners given clean needles to safely inject drugs as early as next year, as the government attempts to combat the spread of hepatitis C among prisoners. It will be based on a one-for-one model, where prisoners exchange a dirty needle for a clean needle, overseen by medical professionals.

Australian scientists find 'cure' for heroin, morphine addiction

Michelle Henderson - The Daily Telegraph

The social scourge of heroin and morphine addiction may soon be a thing of the past, with Australian scientists reporting a breakthrough in kicking the habit. The discovery also could have wide-reaching implications leading to better pain relief without the risk of addiction to prescription drugs. Dr Mark Hutchinson from the University of Adelaide said a team of researchers had shown for the first time that blocking an immune receptor, called TLR4, stopped opioid cravings.

Facebook booze bus page under fire

Dan Oakes - The Age

The creator of a Melbourne-based Facebook page tipping drivers off to the location of police booze and drug buses is a ''slap in the face'' to people who have lost loved ones to drink-driving, police say. ''While it is not specifically illegal to publish locations of booze buses, it is concerning that there are people who are willing to promote drink-driving in this manner,'' a police spokeswoman said.


950 Victorian Education Department jobs at risk

Evonne Barry - Herald Sun

Education Department staff across the state are being briefed this afternoon about a "restructure" that could see up to 950 workers lose their jobs. Department leaders called a mass city meeting at 1.30pm, with regional bureaucrats viewing the event via "live stream". It is believed management were formally told about job cuts on Monday, and workers who were immediately affected by the cuts were notified yesterday. It will be another blow to Victoria's employment rate, coming a day after Tatts Group announced it was moving its headquarters from Melbourne to Brisbane.


Coalition supports sequel to Kyoto protocol

David Wroe - SMH

The Coalition has declared its support for Australia's involvement in a second round of the Kyoto protocol climate pact - a pledge that goes even further than the Gillard government's present stance. Despite past resistance to Kyoto under John Howard, the Coalition's climate action spokesman, Greg Hunt, has given ''in principle support'' to Australia's involvement in a second round of the Kyoto deal, after the first round expires in December.

Margiris super trawler destructive or sustainable?

Monique Ross - ABC

Fishers, conservationists and tourist operators are up in arms over the imminent arrival of the world's second-largest super trawler in Australian waters. The FV Margiris will catch thousands of tonnes of fish in waters stretching from New South Wales to Western Australia. The magnitude of the operation has sparked fears it will decimate fish stocks - something opponents claim the Margiris has already done in other nations.


Territory is a very different affair to 'down south'

Dean Jaensch - AdelaideNow

In August 2010, the Gillard Labor Party squeaked back into office, but as a minority government. In the two years since then, the Labor Party lost the Victorian election, was soundly defeated in New South Wales, and utterly slaughtered in Queensland. Labor supporters must be wondering how long they will have to wait for better electoral news. Saturday, August 25, will answer that question, when the Northern Territory has its election.


In Hawaii, a solid affirmation of marriage as 'One Man, One Woman'

Alan Sears - Alliance Defending Freedom

In a day when elected officials and activist judges in many states across America are maneuvering to undermine the traditional and legal meaning of marriage, the clear thinking of a federal court in Hawaii is as refreshing as an island breeze. On August 8, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii upheld that state’s definition of marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman – supporting the will of the people over that of a small group of activists and a recalcitrant governor.

PM's home branch pushes same-sex marriage

John Ferguson - The Australian

Julia Gillard's home branch is intensifying pressure on the Prime Minister to back same-sex marriage, with several senior Victorian MPs campaigning on the issue to woo the gay vote. Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews yesterday urged the Gillard government to change the law, in order to keep with the times and create a level playing field for same-sex couples.


Liberal war looms over preselection shake-up

Sean Nicholls - Sydney Morning Herald

The NSW Liberal Party is being warned of an unprecedented branch stacking war if a push succeeds in rewriting its constitution to change how preselections are determined. The hard right faction, led by the MLC David Clarke, has launched a petition to force the party to debate the mechanism for preselections for state and federal lower house seats.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Prisoner alert: Please write to Pastor Behnam Irani

Stacy L. Harp - Persecution Blog

Last week VOM's Todd Nettleton was a guest on In the Market with Janet Parshall and he shared an update about Pastor Behnam Irani. Since we know that Pastor Irani is not doing well, I wanted to ask you all to take some time this week to write him a letter of encouragement. He's been in prison for 442 days and every letter we can write, so that the Iranian government knows and those who are holding him in prison know, will help.


People smugglers lift their prices as UN slams latest asylum laws

Phillip Coorey and Michael Bachelard - SMH

People smugglers in Indonesia have stepped up the pace and price of a passage to Australia in response to the Gillard government's new policy on asylum seekers, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warned Australia risked breaching international obligations. The legislation enabling the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru passed the House of Representatives yesterday and is likely to pass through the Senate tonight.

Asylum seekers... only a trickle sent home

Gemma Jones and Ian McPhedran - The Daily Telegraph

Just 287 asylum seekers out of more than 22,000 who have arrived in Australia by boat in the past four years have been sent back home for failing the refugee criteria. In some years up to 62 per cent of asylum seekers have initially had their asylum claims rejected by Department of Immigration Officials. But after they go through extensive - and expensive - taxpayer-funded reviews, up to 90 per cent are allowed to stay.

Refugees recoil at family disappearance

Lanai Vasek - The Australian

Palestinian refugee Aisha Saeed Nayif says she can't even contemplate the fact her sister, brother-in-law and two nephews may have been killed on their boat journey to Australia. The family hasn't been heard of since they last phoned on June 29 to say they were aboard a boat making its way to Australia. "I hope she is alive. I just can't imagine that she is not alive," 52-year-old Ms Nayif said of her sister, Yousra Mohammed, 57. "It is horrible. I just don't even imagine this on my mind." Ms Nayif said her sister, brother-in-law Rawhi Mahmoud, 60, nephews Ammar, 24, and Abdul Nasser, 22, along with Abdul's 22-year-old wife, Tajalee, wanted to come to Australia for a "good life". The entire family, including Ms Nayif and her husband and children, fled war-torn Iraq for Syria in 2006.

Sexualisation of Society

Target faces ‘backlash’ over inappropriate girls clothing

Melinda Tankard Reist blog

Target has drawn fire from campaigners against the sexualisation of children for selling clothes considered sexually inappropriate for young girls.

Rip n Roll 3

Spencer Howson - ABC

The new Rip n Roll campaign has hit bus shelters and there's no outcry from the Australian Christian Lobby. This year, there are two different ads. Each features three men mucking around, with one of them holding a condom but in the version of the ad that's outdoors on bus shelters, the men are fully clothed.


Tim Costello book reflects on politics

Paul Osborne -

Federal budgets have become "balance sheets of power", where special interests struggle for domination, World Vision boss Tim Costello says. Mr Costello, whose brother Peter was treasurer in the Howard government, makes the comments in his latest book, Hope. In the book, the Baptist minister and Order of Australia recipient reflects on his decades of work in poverty and emergency relief, and the Christian motivation behind it, as well as examines Australian and global politics.

Social media shift in business

Julian Lee - SMH

As yet another large company feels the heat from social media, marketers are weighing up whether the benefits of being on Facebook outweigh the risks. Coles, Qantas, Channel Seven and now Target have all been subjected to widespread criticism that began and then snowballed on their Facebook pages. The social media campaign against Target started with a single complaint over the weekend from mother Ana Amini that the retailer sells clothing that makes young girls ''look like tramps''. The Port Macquarie primary school teacher's Facebook post has since attracted more than 59,000 ''likes'' and almost 3000 comments.

Tracking of sex offenders may be expanded

Herald Sun

Western Australia's satellite technology tracking program for dangerous sex offenders could be expanded to enforce domestic violence-related restraining orders. State cabinet approved draft legislation for GPS tracking of dangerous sex offenders on Monday. The WA government is looking at expanding the program to other types of dangerous offenders.